Black and White and Red All Over

Sin City is one of the darkest comic book movies ever put to screen. Well it’s technically a graphic novel, but you get what I mean. The story is dark and so is its use of black and white. With color in only a few key areas. Just like the graphic novel it’s based on. Which is why there’s the occasional black and white silhouette. It was done this way because the author Frank Miller, was also the co-director of the movie (along with Robert Rodriguez). He wanted Sin City to look as much like his comic as possible. Something he pulls off flawlessly. Sin City takes place in Basin City. Focusing on four different interconnected stories that I can only talk about separately.

“The Customer is Always Right (Part I & II)” – The first and last story involves a Salesman offering a Customer a cigarette. Both segments are brief, but they do set up and close off the movie’s tone the way they’re supposed to.

“The Hard Goodbye” – The second major story is the one that features Marv. Arguably the face of the entire Sin City series. He’s an unappealing man in love with a one-night stand, Goldie, who was just murdered. So he (along with Goldie’s twin sister Wendy) takes revenge on the city in hopes of finding her killer. Who ends up being a silent cannibal unfortunately named Kevin. He’s played by Elijah Wood, the most unlikely actor you can think of. While Mickey Rourke plays the physically imposing Marv with extensive makeup that makes him look more like the comic. This story is brutal, but it does stand out more than any of them. It’s also the most R rated as it has the most blood and nudity.

“The Big Fat Kill” – The third major story is also the most morally grey one. It involves a regular guy getting caught in a war between prostitutes and mercenaries. Which leads to the guy, Dwight, disposing of a body. I say it’s morally grey because one of the supposedly “good” prostitutes uses a swastika shuriken. It’s really hard to know who to root for. Rosario Dawson and Clive Owen have good chemistry though. This story also sadly features 2 actors who passed away less than 10 years after the movie’s release, Brittney Murphy and Michael Clarke Duncan. Most of the action is in this short, but it’s probably the least memorable major story in the movie.

“That Yellow Bastard (Part I & II)” – The first major story which plays out in most of the climax, is about an aging police detective named Hartigan who rescues a girl from an evil child killer. It deals with heavy topics like rape, loss of innocence, and corruption. The second part of the story takes place in the present when the girl, Nancy, is now an exotic dancer and still in danger of her capture. Who now has deformed features and yellow skin. This story stands out because it features Jessica Alba as a cowgirl stripper. Which is what most people remember the movie for. While Bruce Willis plays the gritty detective well. It’s difficult to sit through, but at least the right people get punished.

In conclusion, Sin City is unlike anything you’ve seen before from a comic adaptation. Even if going the extra mile to make a movie look like its source material isn’t new. Sin City undoubtedly made it popular again. By utilizing green screen techniques, make up, and filters. Giving us the movie’s final result. With a bunch of notable actors playing a part. I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it when I first saw the trailer. Still, Sin City is uncomfortably violent in a Tarantino/Rodriguez way and visually impressive in a Frank Miller way.


The customer looks out over Basin City

Followed by: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

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